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Neville Southall: Everton can turn the screw on Brendan Rodgers by winning Sunday’s Merseyside Derby

Five of the last six cross city smash-ups have ended in draws but I’ll be disappointed if we don’t beat Liverpool this time.

by Neville Southall | October 1, 2015

Gary Neville’s been saying that Everton v Liverpool is a ‘mid-table’ clash but no-one on Merseyside sees it like that – especially the Blue half at any rate.

Goodison Park will be bouncing on Sunday and I’ll be disappointed if Everton don’t win.

There’s plenty of energy in this Toffees side this season after last year’s dip in form and I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen.

Under pressure

Roberto Martinez struggled last year after a fantastic first season in charge. But all managers go through that. Look at Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger now – two of the best managers in the Premier League. They’re having nightmares.

Wenger is a ditherer and everything that goes wrong is somebody else’s fault. By the time the next transfer window rolls around he’ll say he’s happy with his squad he’s got and won’t buy anyone.

And I don’t think Martinez is under nearly as much pressure to get a result on Sunday as Reds’ boss Brendan Rodgers. It doesn’t look like he’s got much support either inside or outside the club at the moment.

There seems to be something missing at the heart of Liverpool and some high-profile ex-players have been having a pop at him in the media which won’t help his cause.

Brendan Rodgers Liverpool

Money for nothing

Liverpool have the money and have spent big but what have they produced? Nothing.

Rodgers said last season that he’d take the results on the chin and then went and changed the coaching staff at the end of the season. And he’s made some very bad signings with the money he got from the sale of Luis Surez and Raheem Sterling.

Mario Ballotelli was an albatross around the club’s neck, Dejan Lovren looks a liability, Adam Lallana hasn’t clicked and there’s no-one to fill Steven Gerrard’s boots – despite getting plenty of notice that he was on his way to the MLS.

They were mad to let Gerrard go at the time without offering him some role at the club but it looks now that Rodgers may have feared for his job if Stevie G was still on the premises.

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There for the taking

It’s been a while since a Merseyside Derby was relevant in the title race for both clubs. But that could change. It looks the most open Premier League race for years and Everton shouldn’t fear any of the other traditional top-four contenders.

We’ve already beaten the reigning champions Chelsea at Goodison this term and all the big clubs are struggling.

Manchester City have had a crisis in confidence, Chelsea look like some of their players are past it, Manchester United are making headway – but they’re not the finished article.

The so-called unglamorous sides like Leicester and West Ham are having a go – so why not Everton?

The air of invincibility around the bigger clubs has been punctured. If I was walking into Everton’s training ground this season I wouldn’t be worried about any of them – they’re all beatable on the day.

Lukaku correct size

The Big Mo

We need to make our form count on Sunday against our cross-city rivals.  We go into the game with real momentum after turning it around against West Brom last Monday (3-2) and another three points can propel us into the top four.

I wouldn’t swap any of our players for any of theirs. Gerard Deulofeu’s crossing hurt the Baggies and Arouna Kone has done great and having him back after injury is like a new signing at the club. Ross Barkley can make things happen and is a real game-changer on his day.

There’s pace and verve throughout the team and holding on to John Stones sent out a real signal too that the club are ambitious and want to win things.

Phillipe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge are very good players and I’m hoping James McCarthy will harass Coutinho in the middle to try and cut off Dancing Danny’s supply line.

We’ve more going for us than Liverpool and if we can keep those two quiet and get Romelu Lukaku bullying their back four – we can win this game.

I fancy Lukaku to opening the scoring and maybe Brendan Galloway to hit the net from a set piece in a 2-1 win for Everton .

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Daniel Sturridge
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